How To Clean Tile Floors: Ceramic, Stone, Vinyl, And More

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated January 18, 2021

Guide to best practices for cleaning tile floors.

Tile floors are incredibly durable and come in various materials, shapes, sizes, patterns, etc. When you get your lovely tile floor installed, you’ll want to keep it as clean and shiny as possible.

Throughout this article, I am going to teach you :

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Cleaning Routine: How Often Do Your Clean Tile Floors?

Now before you know how to correctly remove debris, pet urine, and successfully clean your tile grout… how often should you be doing this?

To keep your tiles looking speck-free, it’s recommended you start a regular cleaning routine of wet and dry cleaning.

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In terms of dry cleaning, it’s recommended you sweep or vacuum a least twice a week or whenever you can visualize any debris. This will help your floor last longer and any sharp debris damaging it.

You can use a vacuum with a soft-bristle attachment. However, it may be challenging to reach tight spaces or corners. For these spaces, use a broom and a trusty old dust-pan.

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As to wet cleaning, you can start a cleaning routine of cleaning your kitchen floors at least once a week, depending on the traffic and use of course.
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Bathroom floors should be mopped once a week as germs build up easier in moist areas. In terms of spout cleaning, do so once every two months, depending on how you see it.

Basics For Cleaning Tile Floors

Sweeping and vacuuming your floors several times throughout the week is always a good idea.

Any grit or sand can scratch and dull the shiny surface of your tiles. Once the dirt has been removed, it’s mopping time.

The formula that never fails is some hot water and mild detergent. You should apply it with a chamois mop or a rag and try avoiding sponge mops.

Spong mops will end up pushing dirty water into grouts and soiling it. You don’t want that.

While mopping, make sure you are continually changing the water in your bucket and the cleaning solution, so that you ensure using a clean mop and not a dirty one.

If by any chance, you end up with a thick film on the tile floor, you can simply remove it with the all-purpose cleaner of your choice.
However, make sure it’s mild and non-abrasive, so it doesn’t harm your floor or scratch it.

Are you interested in making your cleaner? Easy! Mix either vinegar or lemon juice with hot water. Mop and then dry using a clean cloth. For this part, you can also use a towel.

Check our reviews about the best title floor cleaners of 2021.

Step By Step On How To Clean Tough Tile Floors

A more resilient tile is made from vinyl, cork, linoleum, or rubber.

These tiles are perfect if you need a low-maintenance and comfortable surface to walk on. If you own this flooring, here are some excellent tips for cleaning your stunning tile floor.


Vinyl is incredibly resilient and is low-maintenance.

  1. All you need to do is vacuum or sweep dirt.
  2. Mop with the right vinyl solution or water mixed with vinegar.

It’s not recommended to use aggressive cleaners or any scrubbing tools. You don’t want to scratch this shiny finish.


This tile is often confused for vinyl flooring. It’s important to know that these are quite different and require specific cleaning instructions.

  1. After you’re done the vacuuming or sweeping, wash this floor with a specific cleaning solution for linoleum flooring.
  2. Rinse and dry.
  3. You can further protect the linoleum by applying a wax coat (liquid wax is good too) furbish for a stunning shine that lasts up to 3-6 months depending on the use.


Cork care commonly depends on your tile’s finish.

  1. Most cork flooring is sealed with polyurethane, if yours is, then clean with mild detergent and water.
  2. In this case, you can use white vinegar, rinse, and dry.
  3. If your cork is waxed or unfinished, follow the instructions for polyurethane cleaning tips. However, apply liquid or solid wax once tiles are completely dry.

Steam mops are not recommended for any of these tiles. These are not designed to handle excess moisture and extreme heat.

In-Depth- How To Get Rid Of Grout Grime

Do you know the real secret to a fantastic looking tile floor?

That’s a scrubbed-perfect grout.

Unfortunately, grout is the most porous and quickly absorbs grease and other substances.

Once you take care of your grout, your floors will be looking spotless, literally. Follow these quick steps for the perfect-looking tile grout.

  1. No need to use commercial cleaners. You can make perfect, at-home solutions for great results. How? By combining water and baking soda.
  2. Rub this paste on the stain and let it sit for one whole night. The next day, scrub off stains with a nylon brush. No metal brushes! This will harm the grout. Repeat as often as necessary.
  3. Another great solution is applying a silicone sealer. This will automatically repel stains. However, this works best when the grout has been renewed or is newly installed, about ten to fourteen days later.

Mental note: If you’ve done your fair amount of research, you must be aware of the debate of using a steam cleaner to cleanse tile grout.

It’s controversial.

Some people say it’s a fantastic way to revive your dingy tiles, while others affirm that this process can damage the entire grout as time passes.

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The truth is, a steam mop will not do the grout any harm if it is sealed and in perfect shape. However, if you own an older floor, the steam from the mop can accelerate deterioration and cause discoloration and pitting.

So yes, steam mops can cause damage in time, it’s best to stick to home-made solutions and other tile-safe tools.

Clean Tile Floors Depending On The Type

Would you clean a stainless-steel fridge with a multi-purpose cleaner that works on enamel surfaces? It wouldn’t look too good when you finish, would it?

Well, the same goes for cleaning your tile floors.

Tile floors are incredibly durable, that’s a fact.

However, there are individual tiles that require specific care. Take porcelain and ceramic floor tiles, which are low-maintenance.

On the other hand, you have coarse tiles like granite, marble, slate, or limestone, that require a whole different cleaning routine and specific cleaners to be used.

Tips For Cleaning Porcelain & Ceramic Tile Floors

If you want to keep your porcelain and ceramic floors looking amazing, there are a few simple ways to achieve this.

Follow these tips for stunning-looking ceramic and porcelain tile floors:

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  • First, sweep or vacuum the loose debris. This will help you keep the shine on your tile floors. Ceramic is super resistant to dirt, but sharper dirt such as grit or sand can dull the brilliant surface.
  • Grab the best floor mop for your tile floor. You can easily clean your tiles with fresh water and mild detergent. You shouldn’t use a sponge mop, it just creates more mess and gets more dirt into the grouts. The best tools are the chamois style mops or rags. While mopping, change the water regularly to avoid a cloudy floor.
  • Stains? If you come to find any discoloration in your tiles, don’t freak out just yet. You can remove them by using a specific cleaner for the type of substance the stain is made. You can do some research in regards to this.
  • Soap residue. If you notice the tiles are looking hazy, then it’s likely that there is soapy residue. You can simply remove it by using a non-abrasive cleaner (all-purpose). If you want to try a homemade mix, combine lemon juice and some water. You can use this on porcelain or ceramic tiles, not on stone.
  • Dry your tiles. Most of us are used to letting floors air dry. However, this isn’t recommended, as it creates water spots. Take a few extra minutes to dry your floors with a lint-free cloth after you finished washing.
When drying tiles, simply use your foot to move the cloth over the floors.

Tips For Cleaning Stone Tile Floors

You’ll need to be extra careful when cleaning granite, marble, or slate, which are considered natural stone tiles.

Any abrasive chemicals in common floor cleaners may easily harm the surface. For these, you’ll need to get specific cleaners made for natural stone care.

Let’s take a look at the tile types and how you can care for them:

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  • Slate: Use no acids when cleaning slate tiles. Use a mild detergent, however, make sure you read the ingredients to avoid acid chemicals for coated slate tile, dry as soon as you finish washing using a soft towel to prevent water spots.
  • Marble: Marble is stunning but high-maintenance. To avoid damaging it, don’t use any cleaners with acidic PH levels. Like with slate, acids can harm the floor and etch the surface. No cleaners with vinegar or lemon. Also, avoid materials that can scratch the marble’s surface. This means no aggressive bristles, brushes, or powders for buffing.
  • Granite: Like marble and slate, granite also must be cleaned with nonabrasive detergent and pH neutral. Any aggressive cleaners will leave discolorations and streaks on the surface. In terms of sheen, use a buff for a polished and clean look.

Dirty Grout Cleaning Tips

Dirty grouts are somewhat of a nightmare. They quickly absorb grease, dirt, grout, and all types of things, creating a dirty looking floor.

Even if you just cleaned your heart out.

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To solve this, apply a specific grout cleaner on the grout or mild beach. Wear gloves just in case.
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Allow the cleaner to sit for about ten minutes. After that, use a tiny brush or toothbrush to scrub the grout. This should do the trick.

Nevertheless, you can avoid having to do this once a month by keeping a strict cleaning routine by sweeping and mopping.

But of course, no matter how much sweeping you do, grout cleaning is bound to happen.

Now that I’ve looked into some of the basics, I will teach you how to clean tile floors depending on the type you own. There are many types, materials, and also ways you can clean your floors.

Final Thoughts

Tile floors are beautiful to look at, durable, and comfortable to have at home. Like all things good, these floors require maintenance and care to keep them protected from losing their shine and keep them clean and disinfected.

Your cleaning routine will always depend on the amount of traffic and lifestyle you lead, however, it’s useful to keep in mind specific tips that will help you keep your tile floors looking speck-free, like these!

By following this guide, you’ll be left with nothing but brilliant, clean tile floors for a long time. Now, sit back and gaze at your work.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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